Opinion

Women rocked the Golden Globes

Women on screen are good and bad, sexy and frumpy, honorable and not -- and that is a sea change

You have to admit that there’s some encouraging evidence that women on the screen (and behind it) in Hollywood are slowing but surely having more impact. Just look at the Golden Globes Sunday night: the variety of interesting women's roles that won; the fact that two big winning shows were created by women; the hosts of the Globes, the indomitable Tina Fey and Amy Poehler (what a bummer that they are not reprising their roles next year); and the North Korea skit that revolved around comic Margaret Cho, solemn-faced and outfitted in North Korean-like military garb.

 “Finally,” Lily Tomlin declared as she and Jane Fonda had some fun announcing the award for actor in a television musical or comedy, “we can put at rest that negative stereotype that men just aren’t funny.”

Despite the fact that actresses are still judged on how poochy their bellies look under skintight satin on the red carpet, there was only one onstage crack about an actress’ “globes” — Jeremy Renner’s comment about co-presenter Jennifer Lopez’s barely covered bosom. My colleague Mary McNamara called his remark “tasteless,” but then so was Lopez’s dress, which looked more Vegas costume than awards show gown.

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I’m not saying all is cured in Hollywood. I’m not declaring the gender equivalent of Tina Fey’s tart line describing “Selma” as a movie “about the American civil rights movement that totally worked and now everything's fine."

But winning actress Maggie Gyllenhaal made an insightful observation about the women nominated for Globes.

"I've noticed a lot of people talking about the wealth of roles for powerful women in television lately," she said as she accepted the award for actress in a television miniseries or movie for her role in “The Honorable Woman.” "And when I look around the room at the women who are in here and I think about the performances that I've watched this year, what I see actually are women who are sometimes powerful and sometimes not; sometimes sexy, sometimes not; sometimes honorable, sometimes not. What I think is new is the wealth of roles for actual women in television and in film.”

That’s pretty remarkable. I remember a wasteland of a time when it seemed like every woman in a movie was a waitress, a hooker or someone’s wife.  As if those were the sum total of life choices women made.

It was fantastic to see executive producer Sarah Treem speak on behalf of the cast and crew for “The Affair” for its win for drama series.  And it was great to see Jill Soloway, creator of “Transparent,”  represent that show, a transgender comedy, when it won for comedy series.

May next year bring even more women to the stage.

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